Thursday, August 31, 2006

Music Awards

I was treated to the Citycell-Channel I Music awards function last night.

The legendary songwriter Baul Abdul Karim from Sunamganj received a "Lifetime Award" for having composed over 3000 songs. I discovered his songs through the music of Habib a few years ago. He is old and frail, but came to receive the award. His deceased wife is buried right next to his home, and he lights a candle at her gave every night.

While the awards were advertised as covering all types of Bangla music, the crowd certainly favored band and folk music over Rabindra and Nazrul genres.

The crowd roared when albums of Momtaz, the gutsy folk singer, were nominated. She received best Polli Geeti prize. I didn't know her father was a Baul singer, and so music is in her genes.

In fact, Bangladesh has quite a crop of large women singers who can belt out songs with incredible power - another example is Farida Parvin (why was she not mentioned at this show?) Like the Blues or Opera singers in the West.

A sad moment came when Sudhin Das, a Nazrul teacher, came to accept the award for his student Ferdous Ara. He said it was a sad day for him because Niloy - one of the musicians remembered earlier on in the show as having died in the last year - had been his only son.

The movie star Razzak gave some awards. It's a bummer time has not been kind to him - he looks older and heavier and I would not have recognized him in the streets. In fact, many of the older musicians don't appear to take care of their health. Azam Khan was sprite, though, reminding me of Mick Jagger at 60.

A selection of lip-synced Band songs, representing the evolution of Band Music in Bangladesh, was performed by many legends including Azam Khan (orey Saleka, orey Maleka.) Too bad no one remembered Zinga Goshty.

I still remember when Band music was just starting out in the mid-70s. The guys could barely sing and all the guitar playing was messed up. They can certainly play very well now, and many of the singers sing well too.

A really enjoyable evening - my thanks to the organizers and the musicians.


Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Yup the program was well intentioned! However I thought they could have done a better job in the production. For example they had great singers but they all lip synced! They might have just shown recordings then.

Some categories (particularly Cover Design, Sound Engineer and Songwriter) was well below par. I've heard many many better stuff musically! (Didn't Brownia - the MC make excuse about the quality of the entrants as well??)

ulysses said...

The lip syncing was a bit of "dudher shaad gholey mitano" but I think some people must have appreciated seeing the stars in person. Of course, a live performance would have been nicer.

I don't keep up with all the music coming out every year, so can't comment on the quality. But I did find it striking that there was hardly any overlap with the Daily Star's "Best of 2005" list that came out early this year. Some good music on that list.

Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Some great stuff from Hyder Hussain, Arnob, Watson Brothers, Black, Tashan et al. if you are interested.

Should go to any good music store and pick up a mixture of "Underground bands" from the music lables Ektaar and G-Series.

Experimentally the music scene in Dhaka is really happening these days! I think Zingha and Pilu Momtaz would be proud!! :)

ulysses said...

Thanks for the tips. I will check them out (I have heard the excellent Arnob already.)

Anonymous said...

Have you checked out Dalchut ?

ulysses said...

I really enjoyed their Akashchuri album. In fact, Sanjib showed up on the stage at this function and got a big applause.

While visiting Dhaka several years ago (whilst living in the US) I stopped at a music store in New Market where the salesperson showed me "new" CDs. Since I had not heard of any of them, I was not interested, and started looking for familiar stuff. At this time, I gradually became aware of this really beautiful and unusual song playing on their stereo. I asked him what it was, and he said that was one of the new CDs I just showed you. The song was Bioscope from Dalchhut's Akashchuri.

Anonymous said...

That is one of my favorites too.

They (maybe just Sanjib) have done some 'political' songs too which I like. I don't remember it exactly, but there is one that goes 'Khamosh ... aami aamaar shadhinotar kotha bolte chai'... something like that. I am not sure which event it is based on, most likely the anti-Ershad movement. He mentions some names, presumably killed in a police firing on a crowd of the sort that has stopped nowadays or so I think, at least. In any event, the lyrics are a combination of an actual event, raw terminology (bullets, guns, bayonets, blood, etc ...) and eternal aspirations of freedom, free speech, rights, and so on. I wwant to find out who the lyrics are by. I have a feeling they are by Farhad Mazhar, but not sure.

Another song sung by Sanjib, and I am pretty sure the lyrics are Farhad Mazhar's, is 'Ei noshto shohore naam na jaana je kono maastan ...' Have you heard this ? Again I think the lyrics are quite sophisticated.

Finally I think Dalchut or Sanjib's 'Gaari chawle na, chawle na ..' was a hit some time ago.

In all I have listened to 3 of their CDs, and each has 2/3 gems. On the whole their music is not exactly rock, but (in my opinion good/excellent) contemporary Bangla music though part of the ubiquitous 'Band Music' unique to BD.

Anonymous said...

The other 2 Dolchut/Sanjib CDs are Shawpnobaji and Aakashchuri.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, make that other album Hridoypur, you had alreday mentioned Aakashchuri.

On another note, an album I came across recently that I liked was 'Elephant Road'. A top pick was 'gol prithibi rohoshshomoy ..'

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